Donkey & Goat

Berkeley's first natural winery, crafting wines
from sustainably farmed vineyards since 2004.

Wine Tasting with Friends

Last night we had the pleasure of hosting one of our wine tasting groups. The wines and the company were great.

If you want to start a group, I have a few suggestions.

  • Let one person pick the wines – either what to bring or they can just purchase them. We find the latter works best.
  • Groups work best if the cost of the wine is split by the group – at least for the first few years.
  • Do the tasting blind – much more fun.
  • Talk about the wines – have people say which one is their favorite in a given flight.
  • Keep flights to 3 or 4 wines – more than that is hard to track.
  • Balance the serious nature with fun – one of the groups we left was so serious it wasn’t fun. Wine should be fun – it is meant to bring you pleasure.

Last night, our first flight was Sauvignon Blancs from Alto Adige (SüdTirol) in nortern Italy. We had:

  • 2007 Weingut Niklas Südtiroler Sauvignon
  • 2007 Andreas Baron Widmann Südtiroler Sauvignon
  • 2007 Niedrist Südtiroler Terlaner Sauvignon

All three wines were surprisingly good. Overall favorite was the Niedrist – classic Sauvignon Blanc flavors with excellent acidity and minerality.

All three were made and aged in stainless steel from what we found on the web though several in the group thought they could detect some oak. Several group members picked up the classical grassy and cat pee notes that one finds in “typical”Sauvignon Blancs.

The second flight was three different wines from a single producer – Garlider – which is also located in Alto Adige.

  • 2006 Garlider Muller Thurgau
  • 2006 Garlider Sylvaner
  • 2006 Garlider Veltliner

The consensus of the group, with minor exceptions, was that the Muller Thurgau was the best of the three wines. No one really ventured a guess what these wines were. The noses each revealed intense floral notes with hints of apricot and a herbal note.

Our third flight was 2003 Piedmonte Nebbiolo.

  • 2003 Germano Ettore Prapo Barolo
  • 2003 Sella Lessona (80% Nebbiolo, 20% Vespolin)

  • 2003 Elio Grasso Barolo Ginestra Casa Mate
  • 2003 Castello di Verduno Barbaresco Rabaja

All four of these wines were showing extremely well. 2003 was a very, very hot year so they were much more open then one would typically expect from such a young wine.

The group’s overall favorite was the Elio Grasso – some notes include dark fruit, spice, tea, coffee and chocolate.

Last up was a bottle of 1962 Chateau Suduirant Sauternes, Ancien cru de Roy. It was lovely.

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